Moms in IT?

It was fun to be a part of this video by Tammy Butow (@tammybutow) called ‘Role Models are Important‘, a video slideshow of women in technology.  It’s also a honour to be among so many inspiring technical women).   Women in technology are under represented, and that can be for a number of reasons including discrimination & sexism as documented very well here

My question tonight is…where are all the moms? 

Is poor representation of women in tech all about hostility and sexism ?  Will  empowerment, access to learning, and role models make all the difference?   Could it also be that software development (game design etc) demands such intense commitment of heart , soul and time… that women are opting-out of technology after they become mothers?

I posted the Role Models video on my Facebook last night, and a women who I respect very much responded:

“As a woman engineer I find it very hard to be an effective mom – I often wish I had chosen a career with more flexiblity  with options for part time”

A brilliant woman regretting a career in technology, because it is inflexible with mothering goals. Do we want this?

At DrupalCON #drupalchix BOF, one developer stood up and expressed her challanges being a new mom and a programmer. 

“Hang in there”

13 years ago when I first started programming I worked those intense hours, milestones – 19 hour days trying to meet deadlines so the company could ‘get paid’.  I travelled to work with clients, I arrived early at work, and left late .  Software doesn’t always cooperate with deadlines – and so last minute critical bugs, downed servers are among some of the reasons that leaving at 5:00 PM to take your kids to hockey practice is tough.  What if you are a single mom?  How do you do that?

What’s the solution?  I am the mother of 3 and the primary reason I am still am still able to work in technology is because my employer rarely imposes hours beyond regular full time and I am able to work from home 2 days a week.   It also means I can contribute more to Open Source in-between . I am able to be there for my children after school and weekends. I think I am one of the exceptions?

Of course, I can write, debug & architect code in about 1/4 of the time it used to take me 13 years ago.

How many women leave technology – not because of sexism, or poor focus on girls and science.  How many women are missing because they simply cannot survive the demands of IT employers and their children at the same time?

How many meetups and hackathons held in pubs on a Friday night do I miss ?  (most of them).  If I held a hackathon/playdate event would anyone come? 

No one ever mentions the moms.  How do we include them too?